Scott Dixon took the checkered flag at Saturday’s IndyCar race in Detroit, successfully disrupting a dominant effort on behalf of Andretti Autosport, whose Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, and Marco Andretti finished in second, third and fourth place, respectively.
Things got off to a tidy start around Belle Isle as pole-sitter Andretti managed to defend against a charging Dixon during the early stages of the race. With fair weather conditions and temperatures considerably lower than last weekend’s scorching Indy 500, Honda managed to commandeer the 2.37-mile circuit courtesy of its star drivers.
In the end, Honda took the first six spots and seven of the first 10 places—not exactly the results that Chevrolet wanted at its home race.
"I'm super proud of everybody at Chip Ganassi Racing, and obviously PNC Bank's first victory,” said Dixon.
“Finishing third in Indy is nice, but really people only care about who wins at that place, so it's always tough leaving Indianapolis unless you've won. But it's always nice to rebound strong in Detroit. Honda has done a superb job, Top six for them here in the Motor City is a pretty big deal and congratulations to them.”
Known for its bumpy racing surface and being tortorous on brakes, Belle Isle didn’t create much drama for spectators until lap 47, when Graham Rahal stuffed his No. 15 United Rentals Honda into the wall at turn 13. The brutal collision destroyed the left side of Rahal’s car and even sent bodywork debris flying into the cabin.
"I'm OK. It was about the worst hit you could take around here,” said Rahal. “I think the car did its job. Obviously, we were going to finish third, at worst, and it looks like a lot of our competitors are struggling today. I'm disappointed in myself. I just lost it before I even really turned in. I don't really know what happened.”
The second full-caution yellow of the day was caused by Carlin’s Charlie Kimball, who ran into the back of Dale Coyne Racing's Santino Ferrucci, sending the 20 year old into the turn seven tire barrier in his series’ debut.
Kimball was ultimately penalized for avoidable contact and Ferrucci finished in 22nd place.
Behind the Andretti train was 2017 Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato, who started in seventh place and managed to finish the first of two Detroit races in fifth place thanks to a genius pass on Ed Jones during the closing stages of the race.
Sunday’s “Dual II” will hold another qualifying session followed by the final 70-lap race of the Detroit Double.